Make sure that you check out: www.JusFamilyRecords.com
and look up these other titles at CDBaby.com:
Cool Nutz-Harsh Game For The People
Cool Nutz-Verbal Porn
Cool Nutz-Speakin Upon A Million
G-Ism feat. Cool Nutz-On A Mission
Maniac Lok-I'm Back
Cool Nutz has played an important role in the growth of NW hip-hop. This is the newest release from Jus Family Records. Cool Nutz has been featured alongside some of the biggest names in hip-hop including BG, E-40, Sticky Fingaz, Kurupt, and many more.
Cool Nutz Presents. . .
2004, Jus' Family Records
I stopped seriously listening to Rap music in 1995, so forgive any ignorance on my part in this review. Why did I stop? Commercialism, Sean Combs, Rap-Rock, and Wiggers pretty much sum it up. Like many people, I will claim that I listened to Hip-Hop in it's golden era. A time before the mainstream took it over, where even the majors were putting out solid acts. Nowadays, popular rap artists are too busy working on their TV or movie roles, with all the various endorsements, to work on solid albums. As soon as mini-mall white dudes in oversized jerseys started calling me "dog", I decided I was out. My music sensibilities always tell me that when something gets too popular, it's just not cool anymore. This is unfortunate, because just as a suffering lineup in the mainstream has been an absolute boon for underground rock, it has nurtured a burgeoning underground hip-hop scene, as well.
Terrance Scott, a.k.a. Cool Nutz, is obviously a hard working individual, and his project Collabos, which is a collection of collaborations he has done through the years on various albums, is a testament to that work ethic. Imagine a heart that has to pump blood from Portland, through Sacto, the bay, LA, across Texas to the Fifth Ward, through the Dirty South, up to Philly and New York, back across the midwest to Seattle, returning for oxygen in Portland. The metaphor reflects his phone list, tour schedule and latest release all in one.
I'd like to say the album has a Portland sound, but I don't know what the Portland sound is. I'd like to call it West Coast, but it's bigger than that. I hear the G-funk glide of LA, the Bounce of the Bay, and the stripped down spooky Southern style. Lyrically, I hear the lazy, sing song spits of the west along with the busier lyrical barrages of the east.
Collabos is hip-hop universal. Like our global economy, it needs not a country of origin, but only a cunning CEO. You think your Indie band has it bad? Imagine trying to produce hip-hop out of Portland. Cool Nutz does it well, for while he is proud to represent Portland, he is also aware that without alliances nationwide, the ship won't sail.
The album itself has a large cast of characters including Spice 1, Yukmouth, Mac Dre, and B-legit of The Click fame along with his closest collaborators, his partner Bosko, Poppa LQ, and label mate Maniac Lok. While the diversity of tracks might take away from the cohesiveness of the project as a whole, this album would be a good introduction to where your home town fits on the hip-hop map. Most rap listeners are reluctant to hear anything that doesn't come from the Bay, LA, New York, or the South, even if the artist is local to the area. That is a big mistake! If you think there's nothin' hard coming out of Portland you would be very misinformed. This shit is straight up hip-hop. Crossover Outkast fans need not apply.
The Portland Rock underground could learn a lot from the type of unity I see represented by Collabos, and the tenacity of Terrance Scott and associates. Portland residents could learn a lot about underground hip-hop if they just listened to one of their neighbors, Cool Nutz. Give it a try, Collabos is a great beginning if you don't know where to start. The shit is dope and grown locally.
Stand out Tracks: Rude Boyz, Behind the Scenes, Thug Shit, Shiesty Cats, Holla What's Up. -nno
The first part of this interview is printed in Murder Dog vol 11 #3
When you are on the road do you have to spend a lot of money on traveling?
Not really because most of the time when we're on the road I try to keep everything associated with shows, so that we have hotels and we're getting paid for stuff, so we're not coming out of our pockets too much.
Is it hard to get shows because you are independent?
Not really because you know we've been in the game for a long time.
How do you book your shows?
A lot of the stuff I try to stay tapped in with people that are making things happen, and build relationships with them. And they know that we're making things happen and we're out promoting ourselves and putting on a good show. There's an element they want to add to the show, and people want to do business with other people that are making things happen. It's all about relationships and networking with people.
Are you making some good money touring?
Definitely. This is really all that we do and all that I do, so it works out.
When you tour do you take a lot of people?
It's normally myself, Maniac Lok, DJ Chill and my boy Mizzy, who is basically road management, merchandise and video taping and all the other good stuff that goes along with it.
When you say merchandise, what do you sell?
CD's and T-shirts right now. And of course we give out promo material like posters and all that other stuff. Tomorrow we got a show with Andre Nikatina in Eugene. So we'll be taking our stuff with us down there.
Did you ever get tired? Did you ever want to give up?
I'm working. I've had two record deals-one with Universal and one with Atlantic. From a business perspective, things don't always don't turn out like you want them to. Things happen. Things come and things go, but at the same time we're doing a lot of stuff that a lot of people aren't doing that are supposedly bigger than us. I'm happy with where I'm at if I don't blow up and be the next Fifty Cent or E-40. I'm happy with the things that I've accomplished, and things that I've seen and done and places I've been. And being able to work with the E-40's and people of that nature in the business.
Where do you mainly tour mostly?
We been doing a lot of stuff in Northern California. Of course, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas. Main thing is that I'm trying to get as many people hip to what I'm doing as possible. This year, I'm trying to turn it up to another level in the sense of having people in New Orleans and Miami and Indiana, knowing me. People know who I am because I've been in Murder Dog and we've had records out, and had a lot of publicity, and through the internet. People know who we are but now it's really time for people in Indiana to know us, for people in Miami to know us.
You are doing an album called Collaborations?
It's called Cool Nutz Presents Callabos. It's a project of stuff that we've done with other people from other regions like the Bay. B.G. Potluck from Humboldt County. E-Dawg from Seattle. Mr. D.O.G. from Tacoma. I did a new distribution deal and when I came back I wanted to put out something that people would be excited about. I did a record Cool Nutz featuring some of the bigger names and the artists that I worked with would be a good way to get people excited about having a project available again.
Are these all new tracks?
Some of them are new and some of them have been released before. There are some remixes too. There's like seventeen songs on there. The whole album is produced by Bosko, except for like three songs. It's a hot album.
What are you listening to lately?
I listen to a lot of more older stuff, honestly. The newer stuff I listen is like Kanye West and a lot of our stuff too. I really been studying my stuff to make improvements to what I'm doing so that I can be playing at a higher level. A lot of older stuff, like Jay Z The Blue Print. E-40 In A Major Way. Nas Like It Was Written. Some Messy Mar. One the hottest albums out point blank right now that cats need to get hip to is Keak da Sneak Copious. Keak put out a super hot album even on a national level that people need to hear. The only reason I ain't been listening to it is because I lost my copy.
I don't hear much coming out of Portland. Is there much happening as far as Rap?
The Portland scene is predominantly White of course. The music scene has been centered around Alternative Rock for so long because of Everclear and Dandy Warhols, Dead Moon and all kind stuff like that. A lot of the time that overshadows the Hip Hop.
Do you sell pretty good amount in Portland?
For sure, because that's my home market. One of the things that I been more worried about is brand naming my stuff. Like I was telling you about, having people in Indiana knowing about it, and Kansas City, and everywhere. We just did two shows with Tech N9n. He comes out here and he does Seattle, there's like eight or nine hundred people that come to Portland, like eleven hundred people. We're trying to get to a place where we can do those same numbers but in other places and have that kind of a following. It takes time and money. But we've been working in the right direction, moving and progessing. It's only a matter of time before all that stuff kicks off like that.
Do you think that Portland could ever become a rap town?
Definitely. I don't know if you are familiar with Lifesavas. They're on Quanum Project. You got them. Of course, you got us. Really, right now, in terms of people that are really doing it, you got people that are in my camp and you got Lifesavas. There aren't too many other people. You also got GOTM (Gangstas on the Move) They were working with Get Paid Records. A lot of artists in Portland need to step it up a little bit more and try to take it up to the next level. That's the only thing that's really holding back. A lot of people don't have the serious work ethic to be dedicated and stick with it.
In places cities Seattle and Portland where there is some work, people can at least get a job and pay the bills, they don't put much time on the rap. Like if you go to a place like Gary or Kansas, there's no jobs. You got to make selling drugs, doing rap or playing ball.
It's not the same sense of urgency as it is in other places. Like in LA, New York, Gary, Indiana or Kansas City. Places like that you got real poverty situations and where it's real urgent and real crucial. Even in the Bay, it's a whole hustle aspect of getting out and pushing what you are doing and working it. A lot of artists from our region have a problem and don't understand it. For one, you can't just sit on your block and try to sell your music. You got to get out there and give it the world. And also, on the business side of things you need more cats that are serious about running their label-having a label that is successful and run properly. Sometimes people look at it like me and Lifesavas are doing as something that they can't do. But that's not the case. It takes dedication on your part to put the work in to have it be successful.
How is Lifesavas doing?
They're doing real good. They just did the Quantum tour with Blackalicious and Latyrix and all them, and DJ Shadow. It's positive things going on for a couple of entities in the area but then you have other people that aren't putting in the effort, the energy and the time for it to be successful.
What kind of a crowd do you get at your shows in Portland? A lot of White kids or Black kids?
When we do shows with other artists that are bigger than we are, like Tech9 it's predominately White. A lot of those artists are drawing ninety percent White people, But when we do shows in our town, especially in Portland, we're in the hood, we're around Black people, so the people that come to our shows are a higher percentage of Black people because that's where we around - that's what we grew up around. That's what we are catering to. That's who we are making our music for and who are our real peers and fans are. But at the same time realistically everybody can love good music. There's gonna be White people there. Even most of the kids who buy Hip Hop, 85% of the Hip Hop consumers are White. That's part of it. You can say you are making your music for "my niggas". Yeah, you might be but at the same time you got to understand what demographics is keeping food on the table.
Do you think the Seattle and Portland area has a sound?
It's kind of a melting pot. You have kind of two different scenes. You have the backpack scene and the underground. Then you got more of the West Coast gangsta. Then you got that Mobb kickin' sound, which is a Bay Area/West Coast sound. But you can tell when people are coming from the Northwest because it's real influenced by the Bay Area. The stuff I do is a mixture. It's not really straight West Coast. It's definitely East Coast. It's a mixture of all those elements. You can hear the influence of Hip Hop, of different things in it.
What is your next project after Collabos?
We got a Cool Nutz and Maniac Lok record The Goon Squad. It's a group album. The we got an E-40 Presents Bosko, his album which is a compilation.Then we got E-40 Presents Ahhay Cool Nutz record. They're all going through Navarre for distribution
How did to come to work with E-40?
Bosko's been doing a lot of production for 40, and we've been working real close with 40 for years. We brought him to Portland to do shows. The thing about 40 is that dealing with him is not always just business. 40 is real cool. When you are dealing with him it's kind of like a business friendship. He's always been supportive of what we've been doing, and what Bosko's doing. He's always been basically looking out for us. We're like, if we're working with him and he's working with us, we can do things that's gonna benefit everybody. Everybody has an understanding that we're all working together. It's to certain degree almost like family. For him to be who he is in the game, when you are around him, it's not that rap star shit that you get from a lot of artists.
The Hiphop Tip
BY SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU
If Portland had a Mayor's Award for Excellence in Hip Hop like they do in Seattle, that honor, hands down, would go to Terrance Scott, AKA Cool Nutz. The rapper started Jus Family Records 11 years ago, and since then has released a discography that stands up to the other big Northwest vets--10 new albums in the past decade, four of which were his solo records. Nutz has also done a lot of behind-the-scenes work that often gets overlooked. He had a TV show called The Ledge on Portland's local cable channel, and hosts a radio show on KBOO called The Family Hours. He's also helped organize hiphop festivals that brought out the best in regional and national talent, like Music-festNW and POH-Hop.
Nutz started POH-Hop with his friends David Parks and Steven Spirit in 1995 in an effort to bring the Portland hiphop scene together, and since then has showcased several upcoming artists and bigger names like Andre Nickatina, Ras Kass, the Luniz, and Mac Dre. The festival is more than just entertainment, though, financially giving back to community groups like KBOO and the Black Education Center.
Regarding the secret to his longevity, Nutz says, "A lot of it is common sense. You give everybody the respect that you want them to give you and it will come back to you."
It hasn't always been smooth traveling for Nutz, but he's managed to turn hard times to his advantage. He was able to start Jus Family in 1992 using the $25,000 he received from Big Beat/Atlantic when a deal with that label fell through. When he released Harsh Game for the People five years later, people started to take notice, but Nutz was really considered one of the great hopes for Portland hiphop when his group, D.B.A., was picked up by Universal in 1999. Unfortunately that label later dropped him, but he refused to give up. "It not working out was a good and bad thing. I really found out who my real friends and business associates are," he says. "When you reach a certain level and people see your features in the Source, Murder Dog, or Juice [Europe's equivalent to the Source], and then you get dropped, you see what people are really in your corner and who isn't."
Nutz says the one misconception that has always plagued him is that his mentality is completely street-based, mostly because his raps are about hustling, partying with girls, and getting money. "Just because my audience is more identifiable as a black audience, people have a certain misconception that I'm a gangsta rapper," he says, "but I'm better than that, I have talent. I'm more like a cross between Jay-Z and E-40." And like Jay-Z, his lyrics don't shy away from his past influences on the street.
"I call [my music] 'hood hiphop,' music influenced by what you live," he explains. "It just so happens that I grew up in Northeast Portland, and you base your music on your life experiences--like my brother getting killed, or riding the bus every day when the Crips and Bloods were [in their prime]. At the same time, I was a b-boy and grew up in hiphop."
Looking at the shift in popularity away from the thug-life narratives of G-Funk and the Bay Area hardcore scene to the more emotional indie hop movement, I ask Nutz when he thinks West Coast rap will make a resurgence. "Unless it's Snoop, Too Short, or E-40, backpack hiphop is what packs the club. It's something that's always been happening, it just gets more limelight when the major labels catch on and market the sound to a national audience," Nutz explains. "It happened on the West Coast during the G-Funk era, and it's happening now in the South with the 'Get Crunk' phase, as major labels have always been like parasites, exploiting one trend until they run it to the ground, only to jump onto the next one that emerges from the underground."
Next year be on the lookout for Nutz's new album, I Hate Cool Nutz, which is slated to drop in March on Jus Family and E-40's label, Sik Wid It, and enlists national talent like Sticky Fingaz of Onyx, Ras Kass, Kurupt, and of course E-40. In the meantime, you can check out Cool Nutz's skills for yourself when he arrives up north this weekend.
Cool Nutz will be performing Sat Nov 15 at the Vera Project with Bad Luk, 3 Mysterious, One Famm All-Stars, and Sonny Bonoho, $8 ($7 with club card), 7 pm.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Put That In
2. Spread Love
3. Late Night Licks
4. Eyez On The Prize
6. Pop My Whip
7. Put Em Up
12. Street Science
13. For The Ladies
14. Keep My Soul
16. What I'm About(Remix)
17. 90 Proof
18. Tech Support
19. Roll Call